Mantra for the Soul
Aiming to guide the body and soul through a journey of inner discovery to find peace, love, and joy from within, Namaste Bahrain is a physical and spiritual retreat
Encompassing multiple schools of beliefs, practices, and disciplines, the world of Yoga comprises of various physical and mental exercises that help relax and heal the mind, body, and soul and lead to inner peace. From various styles, such as Hatha or Bikram yoga, to different ideologies and beliefs about based on the sect followed, Yoga is more than just a form of exercise, but rather a way of being for its practitioners with the core of each being different practice being the same: to harness positive energy, connect, and achieve “moksha” (liberation). Inspired by the teachings and benefits of yoga, Weam Zabar dedicated herself to the practice, and soon setting up Namaste Bahrain, the Kingdom’s first and only internationally recognised Yoga school. Weam spoke to Perle Magazine about her decision to completely change her path in life from IT to a Yogi, and how Namaste Bahrain is educating the Kingdom about the benefits of Yoga through its various classes, teachings, and philosophies.
How long have you been practicing Yoga and how did you come about delving into the world of Yoga?
I have been practicing Yoga for about 10 years and teaching for over 6. Yoga started off as a physical practice to me, which is how it starts with a lot of people. I felt that nagging pain in my lower back that I tolerated for years disappear almost instantly. But Yoga is beyond the physical benefits, it quickly transformed into an ability to watch, train and grow my mind in ways I did not think possible at the time. This ability to create space between our thoughts and us brings with is so much freedom, empowerment and peace.
Where did you receive your yoga education and training?
I studied with the Yoga Arts, which is a very old Australian school and teachers that studied directly from Yogis in India for decades. That experience was life changing but to me, every day life is where the training really is. I have learned so much from my students over the years, the practice continues to teach me every day how to love more fully and with no condition and that is the real practice of Yoga.
What are some of the key benefits of doing Yoga for the mind, body, and soul?
We can sit and talk about all the benefits Yoga brings to the organs, bones, muscles and so on for days and although those benefits are real, valuable and relevant, we would be missing the point. Yoga is the science of happiness and freedom. Through the practice of Yoga we learn to deal with discomfort in skilful ways. We learn to experience life as it unfolds in a peaceful way with no expectations nor regrets. Yoga is about mastering the mind in order to remove the suffering it brings when it disconnects us from ourselves, or others.
What are some of the common misconceptions (according to you) that people have about Yoga?
That Yoga is for flexible, thin, young hippie girls. I invite you to watch this video we made exactly for this purpose.
When was your facility Namaste established and what inspired you to set it up?
Namaste opened in April 2011. A lot of people call it a sanctuary, and I am glad, as that was exactly the vision I had for it. I knew very early on that we all needed a break regularly. We daydream of our next vacation but vacations cannot happen often enough. Namaste provides that, a space and practice in which you can switch off your mind for a couple of hours a few times a week in order to become more effective at managing stress, healing the body and becoming kinder and happier people.
How did you achieve becoming the first and only internationally recognised Yoga school in Bahrain?
Namaste is the only Yoga school in Bahrain that can officially graduate Yoga teaches. Our standards are approved by the Yoga Alliance, which is the governing body of the Yoga world. This goes to show that entrepreneurs in Bahrain can, with passion, achieve international standards.
Tell us about the variety of classes that are offered here as well as the training and workshops that you offer?
Namaste offers Yoga for Beginners courses which are great introductory courses that explain the Yoga practice in a way that can be achieved by anyone regardless of age, gender and physical abilities. Students can then move on into intermediate classes which are a buildup from that course.
Namaste keeps up with the latest equipments, trends and tools in the Yoga world. It is the only studio that offers Aerial Yoga (which uses yoga hammocks), theraputic Yoga (which uses the yoga wall) and In Trinity (using the InTrinity boards).
How many instructors comprise the team at Namaste?
As previously mentioned, Namaste offers internationally recognised Yoga Teacher certificates. We are 11 instructors in total, most of which received their training at Namaste. So it is a beautiful cycle of receiving a beginner student that grows their practice to become more familiar with it and then finally achieving the teacher certificate and potentially being presented with the opportunity to teach at Namaste or somewhere else.
We also host international and local teachers for specialty workshops on a range of topics. We also run Yoga retreats in various locations from Sri Lanka, Bali, Morocco to our upcoming retreat in September in Egypt.
As an entrepreneur what were some of the challenges you faced while trying to set up a Yoga facility in Bahrain and educating the Kingdom about its importance?
Because there are many fields which still had not been developed in the kingdom, an entrepreneur with a new idea faces some brick walls when trying to set up as the laws and regulations are not clear. Although it is great to be the first to do something, it is much harder to do it than it is had someone else done it first and paved the way. The other thing that I had to spend a lot of time on is explaining why. Letting people know why you opened the studio and what benefits it would bring takes some time to build the trust, reputation and client base when it is a new idea.
What advice would you like to pass on to those who would like to start practicing yoga?
Do not let fear get in the way. Your mind might give some really good excuses on why you should not be practicing but you would be depriving yourself of a real opportunity of growth, freedom and peace.
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